Two teams Gujarat Lions and Kings XI Punjab after playing 6 matches each in this season still struggling hard to find their winning combination. Both the teams have won 2 matches and lost 4 matches and a win from here will give them a chance to climb up the ladder.
Gujarat Lions played last match against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens. Lions won the toss and asked Knight Riders to bat. Narine and Gambhir gave KKR ideal start. From the very first over Narine was after the ball and looked to hit every ball. He was unstoppable and beaten Lions opening attack very very badly till Captain Raina himself came to bowl. Raina picked up Narine wicket at the score of 45 runs out of which Narine scored 42 runs off 17 balls. Uthappa joined Gautam and they added 69 runs for the 2nd wicket partnership. Gautam Gambhir as usual was looking good but missed the shot on Faulkner bowling and got caught scoring 33 runs. On the other hand Uthappa was going fine and getting the runs with his usual rate. Pandey and Uthappa added 55 runs and when it was going good Praveen Kumar comes in and picked up Uthappa’s wicket. He scored 72 runs off 48 balls. Basil Thampi who has been bowling really good from last couple of matches clean bowled Manish Pandey on 24 runs. Unbeaten Yusuf Pathan and Shakib posted the score of 187 runs in 20 overs. P. Kumar, Faulkner, Thampi and Raina took 1 wicket each. It was big score and against the bowling line up like KKR it was too tough for Gujarat Lions. In response, Lions got the same start as KKR, this time it was Finch who opened the innings with McCullum and smashed 31 runs off 15 balls. Finch and McCullum added 42 runs for 1st wicket and when Coulter Nile comes in and sent Finch to the pavilion. Suresh Raina comes next and started leading from the front and on the other hands wickets kept falling. Next one to go was McCullum, who scored 33 runs and picked up by Woakes. Karthik scored only 3 runs only and in the next over he was picked up by Coulter Nile. Raina took the charge and with Ishan Kishan added 34 runs for 4 wicket partnership but the contribution from Ishan Kishan was only 4 runs. Kuldeep Yadav picked his wicket and by then Lions lost their 5 wickets on 115 runs in 11.4 overs. It looked like the game for Lions was over when Lions lost Dwayne Smith as theri 6th wicket. But then came Sir Ravinder Jadeja and with Raina, he added 58 runs for 7th wicket partnership. In 18th over Kuldeep Yadav give KKR must wanted break through and picked Raina scoring 84 runs but it was too late for them. Lions needed only 8 runs off 13 balls. Unbeaten Jadeja and Faulkner chased down the target in 18.2 overs and Lions won the match by 4 wickets.
Kings XI Punjab is at the 6 position and it seems after giving some solid performances luck is not on their side and still they are devoid of win. Punjab played their last match against Mumbai. Batting first, it was Shaun Marsh who opened the inning with Amla and gave Punjab a good start. Marsh who was playing his first match this season scored 26 runs off 21 balls and lost his wicket to McClenaghan. Marsh and Amla added 46 runs for the 1st wicket partnership. Saha continued his impulsive inning and getting out early. This time also he was in a hurry and scoring only 11 runs. Maxwell who came to bat in 11th over joined Amla and both added 83 runs for 3 wicket Partnership. This time it was McClenaghan who was in Maxwell radar and gone for huge runs. Maxwell scored 40 runs off 18 balls only. On the other hand Amla continued his hard hitting and on his radar it was one of the best bowlers in the world Malinga. Malinga gone for 58 runs in his 4 overs. Amla’s unbeaten century posted 198 runs on the score board. In response, Mumbai got a smashing start. Parthiv and Butler added 81 runs for 1st wicket partnership. Stoinis who made a come back after couple matches picked up 1st wicket for Punjab and sent Parthiv Patel to pavilion. Butler and Rana continued and started getting runs even faster and in just 44 balls added 85 runs for 2nd wicket. Buttler scored 77 runs and picked by Mohit Sharma. Unbeaten Rana completed his fifty and Mumbai chased down the target in 15.3 overs only. Mohit Sharma and Stoinis were the only one who took 1 wicket each. Ishant Sharma and Stoinis went too expensive in their overs.
Gujarat: D. Karthik (wk), A. Finch, B. McCullum, S. Raina, D. Smith, I. Kishan, R, Jadeja, J. Faulkner, P. Kumar, B. Thampi, D. Kulkarni.
Punjab: W. Saha (wk), H. Amla, S. Marsh, G. Maxwell, M. Stoinis, A. Patel, G. Singh, S. Singh, M. Sharma, S. Sharma, I. Sharma
Gujarat Lions would be looking to bring back Andrew Tye as it appeared in last match as well they lacked in bowling even though they won the match but not every time an inning played by Raina or any other batsman will save the match again. And if this happens then Dwayne Smith might be making way for Tye
Dwayne Bravo said he is fit but would need 1 or 2 games more to return back to side. It is yet to be seen if he will make a cut in playing 11 this time or not.
If Manan Vohra has recovered from illness then he will be replacing Gurkeerat Singh.
Ishant Sharma went too costly and has not been successful in taking wickets may make way for Varun Aaron
Cariappa can replace Swapnil Singh as he was not successful in last match as well.